'Wilshere the best English footballer of all time' - Arsenal loanee Akpom

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A midfielder who has come back into favour at Emirates Stadium this season has seen his quality talked up by a fellow Gunners academy graduate

Jack Wilshere has been labelled “the best English footballer of all time” by fellow Arsenal academy graduate Chuba Akpom.

The 26-year-old midfielder made his senior debut for the Gunners back in 2008 and was tipped for a bright future for club and country.

Wilshere is closing in on 200 appearances for Arsenal, while earning 34 caps for England, but fitness issues have blighted a promising career and his future remains unclear as he continues to run down his current contract at Emirates Stadium.

Akpom is, however, of the opinion that a man who has returned to favour under Arsene Wenger in 2017-18 is the finest player the English game has produced in this or any other generation.

The 22-year-old striker, who is currently taking in a loan spell at Sint-Truiden, told Belgian publication Sport/Foot: “For me, Jack Wilshere is the best English footballer of all time.

"From Arsenal’s academy, he made it to the Premier League, and he became my idol. Jack is a natural talent, with an elegant control of the ball.”

Akpom has been unable to make a similar impact to Wilshere since making his own way out of the youth ranks at Arsenal.

He has made just 12 first-team appearances to date, with the last five seasons seeing him spend time away from north London at Brentford, Coventry, Nottingham Forest, Hull City, Brighton and Sint-Truiden.

Goals have been hard to come by, with just eight efforts recorded in 82 outings, but he remains tied to his parent club until the summer of 2019.

Given his high opinion of Wilshere, Akpom will be hoping that a club colleague will soon commit his future to Arsenal, with extension talks having dragged on for some time without reaching a positive conclusion.

If no agreement is reached, then a highly-rated talent who should be approaching his peak will drop into the free agent pool at the end of the current campaign.

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